Tag: cattle

Women in Ag: Ag Communications Professional, Maggie Malson

Maggie Malson grew up a Kansas farmer’s daughter, but after meeting her husband, Josh, at Kansas State University, the couple returned to his home in Idaho and she easily found herself loving the Gem State. The couple raises Angus and Hereford cattle and their four children on his family’s southwest Idaho ranch. Maggie has been an ag communications professional for the past 14 years. When not writing stories or photographing clients, watching kid activities, or helping with the cattle, Maggie enjoys getting creative in the kitchen. She also volunteers her time as a 4-H club leader, a contributor to the Idaho CattleWomen blog and is involved with Beef Counts.

How are you involved in agriculture and/or beef industry today? My husband and I live and work on his family’s registered cattle ranch. While I don’t work outside with cattle every day, I am always on call to help as needed—whether moving cows, making a run to the vet clinic, or in the case this fall when I awoke to cows in our yard, helping get them back in and fixing the fence. With my communications experience, I manage our website, and help with the marketing and advertising of our purebred cattle. Our children are active in junior beef association activities and 4-H, showing cattle and sheep. We also have a couple feeder pigs each year. Professionally, I spent 13 years publishing the magazine for the Idaho Cattle Association, but recently stepped away from it to be more available to my family. After graduating from college, I started my communications business to provide writing, photography and design services, mainly to agriculture publications and clients, which I continue to do today.


Checking out the bulls during the family’s annual bull sale. Maggie and Josh are thankful to raise their children in the cattle business.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture and/or the beef industry? My love of agriculture is a part of who I am. I was raised in a small farming community in Kansas where my dad and granddad were farmers. I remember helping my dad change water, which for us was big gated pipe. Moving cows was also a favorite family activity. I was a 10-year 4-H member, and that program, along with my parents, helped teach me responsibility, hard work, dedication, goal-setting and leadership skills. I had many interests in high school including art, photography and writing, but my love for agriculture, horses and cattle led me to pursue a degree in animal science. During my sophomore year I attended my first Ag Media Summit, where I met writers and editors of publications I had grown up seeing my dad read. I realized telling the story of agriculture was my life’s passion. I added ag communications as a second major. I was fortunate to have college internships to gain experience in both the horse and beef industries, and being on the KSU horse judging team also gave me opportunities for travel and meeting people through agriculture—many of them are still close friends today.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? Certainly both of my parents and my grandparents have been great mentors for me. I look up to them for their faith, hard work, and kindness to others. They offered so much love and support to me through the years. My 4-H leader and county agent, Frank Swan, was also an influential force in my formative years and gave me many opportunities for growth and learning. In my communications career, I have numerous colleagues I admire and look up to. In the last 13 years, the cattlewomen and men of Idaho have provided daily inspiration for their dedication to raising beef and feeding people. There have been a few in particular who have been especially encouraging to me and are great leaders in our industry. I always appreciate opportunities to “pick their brains,” and gain insight from their experiences when we spend time together.

How do you provide encouragement to others? In my role as a wife and mom, I find lots of opportunities to encourage my family. Josh and I enjoy working together, albeit not always easy, but working alongside your spouse doing something you both love is a great way to spend the days. And I admire him so much for his love of cattle and doing the best job he can. I also love to laugh, so if I can infuse a little humor into a situation I will try because laughter really is great medicine. With our kids, I want to find the right balance of letting them learn from life experiences, but loving and guiding them along the way. I am a firm believer that everyone has something to contribute in life. I want to empower and encourage women to realize their worth and to be proud of the role they play—whether it’s at home or working outside the home. There is enough negativity in the world that we need to build each other up and not shame each other for parenting, food or other choices. In this day and age of modern technology and instant messages, I still find power in a face to face conversation and the handwritten note, so I try to visit in person or send cards and letters to others when I can.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? We tend to fear what we don’t know, so I would encourage the general public to get to know farmers and ranchers, learn more about what we do to care for land and animals, and to trust we are doing our very best. Agriculture impacts all of us, and a thriving agriculture industry and rural economies are the backbone of our country. Agriculture should still be considered a noble profession. It’s simple; we have to eat, have clothing and shelter. I want the rest of the population to know that farmers and ranchers care more about the land and animals than anyone in Washington, D.C., who is making policy without first-hand knowledge of how small or large farms and ranches are run. Food choice is important, and all production systems are needed. Science and technology are valuable tools that producers use to help be more efficient and sustainable.


Maggie has fond memories of showing horses and cattle at her county fair. Now she gets to watch her own kids show animals and learn valuable life lessons through 4-H.

What are you most thankful for? My faith, freedom, family, friends and health! I am thankful for agriculture and the people who have positively influenced my life. Life isn’t always easy and we all have our own share of trials and challenges, but my grandma’s advice was that you could always find someone else worse off than you. She had a positive, grateful attitude and didn’t complain. Even in the midst of an uncomfortable circumstance or challenge, I can always find something to be thankful for! If I ever start to think of what I don’t have, it’s my internal cue to look around and see how I can help or bless someone else. Reaching out to others in their time of need always puts my blessings in perspective.

What is you favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? I really love a good steak and roasted broccoli. I could probably eat that every day! One of my family’s favorites I make is a Steak Alfredo Pasta. I cut the steak into bite-size pieces, season, then brown them. I make a homemade sauce, starting with a roux of butter and flour, adding milk and cooking until it thickens. I season with garlic salt, pepper, Italian spices and Parmesan cheese. I add diced fresh tomatoes, red onion and bell peppers if I have them around. (I change it up a little each time.) I mix the steak back in after the sauce is finished and serve over fetticine noodles.

What are your guilty pleasures in life? I don’t have much time to watch TV, but I have three shows I DVR—Madam Secretary, Castle and The Mysteries of Laura. I love the strong, female lead characters, and each show has some drama, along with laughter too—a great combination.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? I love to read and usually have several books on my nightstand. I enjoy art, DIY projects and scrapbooking, although I haven’t had as much time to do this as I used to. I really enjoy watching my kids show their animals or participate in sports.

Favorite place to visit? Kansas (or anywhere my family is) and McCall, Idaho, where we have a family cabin. Because Josh and I both work from home, getting away from the ranch doesn’t happen often, but being up in the mountains and on the lake gives us both time to relax, enjoy downtime with our kids, and take in the beautiful scenery.

little girl showing horse

Maggie and her first horse, Dandy, who taught her about perseverance and hard work.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) I won my first horse in an essay contest when I was 8 years old. She was only a yearling and I had no experience; I was just a horse-crazy girl. I learned so much about perseverance and not giving up from that horse. We had to learn everything by trial and error, but by the time I was finished showing her, I had reached all my goals. 2) I took an Introvert/Extrovert test once and my answers were evenly divided down the middle. I enjoy being around people, but also crave alone time. 3) I play the piano. I grew up taking lessons and playing in church. I don’t play nearly as often I would like to, but sometimes when I’m stressed, I’ll sit down and play through a hymn or Christmas song.

Keep up with Maggie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Cattle, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life

Women in Ag: All-Around Cattlewoman, Jessie Jarvis

Jessie Jarvis is a born and raised Idahoan, with a strong passion for promoting agriculture. She graduated from the College of Idaho in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She and her husband currently ranch alongside her parents in King Hill. Prior to moving home, Jessie spent almost three years working as the Communications Director for the Idaho Cattle Association. When she isn’t out doing ranch work, Jessie still manages to maintain a career in marketing and communications. She is also a regular contributor to the Idaho CattleWomen blog, covering anything from the first calf of the season to sharing the recipe for her Mother-in-Law’s famous Taco Salad.  

How are you involved in agriculture today? We have a cow-calf operation, and a small farm where we primarily grow alfalfa and silage corn. Very, very rarely do our crops get sold, because we grow them specifically for the purpose of feeding our own livestock. No two days are alike, which is part of why we love what we do! I’m also very passionate about telling the story of agriculture whenever I get the chance. To me, it’s very important that consumers have the opportunity to better understand where their food comes from, and who is producing it.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? Agriculture truly has made me who I am today. I am so lucky to have been born into such an amazing industry with such inspiring people. If I had to use a single word to describe agriculture, “selfless” would be at the top of the list. The “leave something better than you found it” mantra is a common thread between every one of us, and it’s something we carry far past the farm/ranch setting. Knowing that those around me are constantly making things better, not only for themselves, but for those to come, really helps me hold myself to a higher standard. 

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? This is actually a difficult question for me to answer, because I truly can’t narrow it down to one single person. However, if I could have lunch with three people, I would probably pick Kadee Coffman, Laura Bush and Miranda Lambert. I have a deep respect for each of them, and know I could glean a lot of wisdom from such a diverse group of instrumental women.

One of Jessie’s favorite places on her family’s ranch, is their barn. It’s an original structure that was there long before her grandparents bought the ranch back in the early 1940s. Photo Credit: Maggie Malson

How do you provide encouragement to others? I will be the first to tell you that we’re all faced with our share bad days and difficult situations, but regardless of how terrible things may seem, there’s always a silver lining. For that reason, I’m big on positivity. You can’t do great things in life if you’re surrounded by negative thoughts from negative people—so I always try to help others think in an optimistic manner.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? Food is the one subject where everybody thinks they’re entitled to an opinion. I’m all for people gathering information and basing their opinions off their conclusions, regardless of whether they agree with me or not. But it bothers me to know that people aren’t posing their questions to those who know food best. There’s a reason WebMD® can’t give out prescriptions, but a real doctor can. The same applies to food. If you have questions about what you’re feeding your family, make sure that one of your information sources is someone who actually produces it!!!

What are you most thankful for? Ranching is not an easy business, especially for two “kids” in our 20s, like Justin and I. I am so thankful that we are able to work alongside my parents—two of the best in the business—and have the chance to soak up all they have to offer in terms of wisdom and insight.

I’m also thankful for all of my “biggest problems.” I know that’s kind of a strange thing to be thankful for; but when I look around at the rest of the world, even my biggest problems are so miniscule! Those issues are what remind me of how easy I have it. I’ve got a great husband, loving parents, supportive friends, good horses, great health, a roof over my head…the list is endless!

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? If I’m cooking for myself, regardless of the time of year, I love a good steak salad. People think salads are so boring, but they’ve obviously never tried one from my kitchen. I always mix an array of things in—my salads are never lacking in flavor, but still so healthy!

What is your favorite childhood memory? Growing up as an only child I spent a lot of time with just my parents. We were never big on watching TV, so quite often we spent many summer evenings riding horseback through one of our Bureau of Land Management (BLM) permit fields. Initially those outings were where I first learned to ride. As I got older, my Dad would test me on my knowledge of different grass species, or tell us stories of the things they’d do in the same area, when he and his sister were my age (like trying to catch a “pet” coyote).

JessieJustinICWSelfieIn recent years, I’ve also grown quite fond of the first memory I have of meeting Justin. Our families have known each other forever, but my first memory of him is from when we were six, at an Elmore County Junior Rodeo. I still have a newspaper clipping from that rodeo that says something to the effect of “All-Around, Jessie Thompson; Reserve All-Around, Justin Jarvis.” I joke that it was probably the first and last time I ever beat Justin in anything rodeo related!

What are a few of your guilty pleasures? I love a glass of red wine!

Favorite store to shop in? Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I love to shop. By no means would I dub myself as a shopaholic, but I love being able to show off my uniqueness and creativity through a well put-together outfit. If I get a chance to make it to the mall, the first place I stop is Bohme—they have a great variety of stuff, and none of it is too expensive. Since ranching keeps me so busy I end up getting a lot of my stuff from online boutiques. A few of my favorite shops are The Rusty Rose, Southern Trends, Redford Ranch Style, and Mesa Dreams Leather!

Be sure to keep up with Mrs. Jarvis on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!


Categories: Beef, Blogging, Cattle, Idaho Cattlewomen

Women in Ag: All-Around Ranch Wife, Trish Dowton

Trish is a born and bred Idahoan, growing up in the mountain town of Salmon. Trish’s dad was the Ag Extension agent there for more than 30 years, while her mom served as the school librarian. Trish graduated from the University of Idaho with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture Economics in 1990. Trish and her husband Stan have been married since 1991, and have two daughters, Dani (23) and Loni (22).

How are you involved in agriculture today? Stan and I have owned and operated the Dowton 3X Ranch, a commercial cow operation in Pahsimeroi Valley, since 1992. I love the cows and spend a lot of time caring for them during calving season, riding on summer ranges, and doing almost all cow work, in general. I also irrigate, run hay equipment, pay the bills and keep up the financial records.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? Agriculture is my life. I’ve always loved animals, and being able to take care of them and live where we do means everything. I am also very glad that we were able to raise our girls in this lifestyle.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? My dad, Bob Loucks. He always has a positive outlook and tries to see the best in everyone.

The Dowton 3X ranch makes it's home in Idaho's Pahsimeroi Valley, south of Salmon.

The Dowton 3X ranch makes its home in Idaho’s Pahsimeroi Valley, south of Salmon.

How do you provide encouragement to others? I try to be positive and get them to believe in themselves. I’ve also tried to encourage people to take advantage of what is available to them, and to appreciate the little things in life, like beautiful sunsets and good horses.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? Well, we often preach to the choir, but if we were talking to city people I would say that we try to take the best possible care of all our animals, and we really do try to raise a great beef product that is healthy and sustainable.

What are you most thankful for? My family and this lifestyle.

What is you favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? Beef Tri-Tip on the grill, with twice baked potatoes and a salad.

What are your guilty pleasures in life? Horses and chocolate.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? Horses, team roping and reading.

One of the busiest seasons on the Dowton 3X Ranch, is calving; but Trish doesn't mind the work one bit!

One of the busiest seasons on the Dowton 3X Ranch, is calving; but Trish doesn’t mind the work one bit!

Favorite place to visit? Places in the mountains where there aren’t many people.

What are three little known facts about you? I earned an “A” in calculus during high school, I was a member of a successful meat judging team in college, and I used to show reined cow horses—I loved going down the fence!


Categories: Beef, Blogging, Cattle, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life

Women in Ag: Cowboy Girl, Jayme Thompson

Jayme is a 4th generation cattle rancher, born and raised in Mackay, Idaho. She and her husband, Matt, currently reside in Shelley. They have three sons, Jackson, Mattson and Dawson.

How are you involved in agriculture today? My husband and I have a cow-calf operation and raise Quarter horses. We raise alfalfa hay and other forages that we use to winter our cattle on. My husband is also a representative for Western Video Market, which gives us the opportunity to meet new people, see different country and ranches, and deal with a lot of cattle. 

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? I have been involved in agriculture my entire life. My husband and I are both the 4th generation of our families to be in the cattle business; and we are both so proud of our roots, and how we were raised. Because of that, I always knew I wanted to raise my family in a traditional ranching environment. We juggle the boy’s activities and school along with our work on the ranch, making sure they still get to be involved in things, even if we’re busy. It takes a team effort to make everything work, but we happen to be a pretty good one!

Photo Credit: Mystic Memories Photography

Photo Credit: Mystic Memories Photography

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? I am inspired by all women who have walked in the shoes of being a rancher’s wife. The ladies who keep a clean house, do laundry, and have tidy yards, as well as gather cows, brand calves, and have a delicious meal on the table to feed the crew. My Grandma, Hilda Goddard, is simply amazing. She has cooked meals that have fed an army—anyone and everyone was always welcome at her dinner table. She drove the water truck, fixed fence, sorted cows, baked her own bread, made homemade Christmas presents, sewed anything imaginable, and has a love for the Lord that has been an example to us all. She is such a blessing to me, and to our family. At 93, she still manages to drive and live by herself; she’s definitely one tough cookie! I always hope to be a real rancher’s wife, just like her.

How do you provide encouragement to others? Life is so short and each day is a blessing. Never miss a chance to tell someone you love them or appreciate them. I still call people (not text), especially on their birthdays. I love sending “Thank You” cards, and I always try to put little notes inside my boy’s lunch boxes or on the mirrors telling them I love them and to have a great day!! Each day is what you make of it…choose to be happy!

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? I wish the general population was more respectful of agriculture, and had more of an appreciation for what we do. I believe that a lot of people think that farmers and ranchers aren’t smart enough to do anything else, and that is so unbelievably far from the truth. It takes a lot of smarts to successfully put food of the tables of hundreds of people, especially when there is no guaranteed price for the goods we’re selling.

What are you most thankful for? I am so thankful that I was able to grow up as daddy’s little cowboy girl. I think a lot of that has to do with why I get to be married to my best friend, and can raise our boys on a ranch. I am so thankful for each and every one of my family members—I am so blessed, and I thank God for that every day. 

Part of the Thompson's horse herd, grazing on their summer range.

A portion of the Thompson’s horse herd—one of Jayme’s favorite parts of ranch life!

What is your favorite meal to cook? I hate to say it, but I’m not the handiest in the kitchen. I wish I was, and I’m sure Matt does too, but thankfully he’s not picky and always eats whatever I come up with. I do make a dish called “Spicy Baked Hamburger Rice.” It’s hardy, and has a nice little kick to it. My boys seem to like it because they always ask for it. If I need something quick and easy, I’ll throw tacos together, because they’re pretty fool-proof. This time of year I start doing more stuff in the crockpot; that way it’s ready when we get home from a long day of sorting or hauling cows.

What is your favorite store to shop in? I love to shop with my mom! We like Sundance Catalog Outlet, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, Target and Macy’s. You can always find good sales, clearance items , and coupons at those places. I also love to shop little boutiques and good antique stores, Cal Stores, and D&B Supply. Being married to a saddle maker I have grown to have an appreciation for saddle shops and good leather.

What are a few of your favorite hobbies or pastimes? I exercise a lot and try to make it a part of my every day routine. I try to stay healthy and eat right. I’m a pretty big sports fan, and its proving to be more exciting as our oldest son is now playing football and running track for the College of Idaho. I love raising our baby colts—watching them grow, selling them, and seeing what other people do with them. It makes us proud when people will call and tell us they love their horse they bought from us. We have many returning customers and it has built some great friendships. 

What is your favorite childhood memory? I have so many wonderful memories it is hard to tell about just one. Gathering cows when I was little with my family, and the pine trees would brush me off my 16-hands tall, gelding. I loved the smell of the sagebrush after it just rained, or the sun coming up over the hill when we would trot out. Going hunting with my brother before school, and hearing the sound of an elk bugling. Family dinners, church on Sundays, small town parades and rodeos; I loved high school rodeo, and the two years I qualified for Nationals. The snowstorm where we were snowed in for 9 days and had to ride a snow machine to get to the tractor so we could feed cows. Getting to drive the farm truck for the first time all by myself, calving seasons, jumping the bread loaf hay bales and “educating” the city cousins when they came to visit. One Christmas my dad cut out shapes of blocks of wood and gave them to a needy family for their kids. We also had a swimming hole on our ranch in Mackay, called Parson’s, which every kid in town knew about. We swam there every summer night! I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything!!

Be sure to keep up with Jayme on Facebook, and Instagram!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch Life

The First Calf of 2015

Every now and then somebody claims that they’ve been doing something since the day they were born. The skeptic in me hardly ever believes them, but this photo reminds me that it can, in fact, be true.

Just a baby helping the babies. In true Jessie form, I probably asked if they could sleep in bed with me.

Just a baby helping the babies. In true Jessie form, I probably asked if they could sleep in bed with me.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been helping with calving season for a while now. The picture above is circa 1992, during a cold winter’s night when our only option to keep these babies alive was to bring them in the house and dry them off with a blow dryer. Twenty three years later, not a whole lot has changed. I’m still not allowed to throw a working blow dryer away, although now we have a special heated room in our barn where we can house babies overnight when needed.

I don’t care if it’s black, red, or pink with purple stripes; there is absolutely nothing cuter than the first calf of the season. I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for a 2015 calf to arrive, and FINALLY, my wish was granted.


Franklin’s first steps were a bit wobbly, to say the least. But he got the hang of things pretty quickly.

While we were feeding on Saturday, my husband noticed that one of his heifers was off in the trees by herself. He walked over to check on her, and new immediately that something wasn’t right. During birth, a calf’s front feet are supposed to come first; therefore, the bottoms of the feet point down. This bottoms of this baby’s feet were pointing up, so we knew he was coming backwards. Just like in humans, babies who try to come out breech need a little extra help.

FranklinHeadShotKnowing we didn’t have a ton of time to spare, we hurried back to the house. Justin jumped on the 4-wheeler, while I stayed back and got all of the gates ready so she could sail right into our calving pen. Most of the time it’s a bit of a struggle to get a calving bovine headed in the direction you want them (which is understandable…she’s in the midst of having a baby!), but this heifer couldn’t have done better. Once we got her in the pen and got all of our birthing tools ready, we started the “pulling” process. Cattle do have C-sections, but in this specific case that wasn’t the best option. Instead, we helped the Mom give birth by gently pulling her calf out. The process usually goes very quickly, is least invasive, and leaves a Mom with very little, if any, downtime afterwards.

When it was all said and done, this little bull calf was born about 5 whole minutes after we started. We usually give Mom and Baby about 30 minutes to themselves before going back to check on them; that way they have ample time to bond and the cow can really dry him off without being disrupted.

While were we sneakily waiting for our baby to try to stand, Justin jokingly said, “Welp, it looks like Little Franklin is down again.” I’m not overly sure how he came up with Franklin, but it stuck.

Since Saturday, Franklin and his Mom have been staying in the “maternity ward,” basking in fresh straw, and soaking up all of the available sunshine. Today, they’ll get moved out to the “calf pasture” and will shortly be joined by other cow-calf pairs once others start calving.

Franklin and his Mom have been loving all the extra attention they've been getting in the maternity ward.

Franklin and his Mom have been loving all the extra attention they’ve been getting in the maternity ward.

We’re excited to have Calving Season 2015 is off to a great start!

– J

Jessie has returned to her roots on her family’s commercial cattle ranch in southern Idaho after time away at college and working on behalf of the state’s cattle producers. She’s passionate about agriculture and the western way of life. When she isn’t doing ranch work or writing, Jessie enjoys baking, golfing and drinking coffee. As a newlywed, she’s also turning a little cabin on the ranch into a home.

Categories: Blogging, Cattle, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life